Tag Archives: Argentina

Scene Report: DIY in Buenos Aires

La Otra Cara de la Nada

La Otra Cara de la Nada

Music in Argentina has come a long way since the 1970s. From 1976 to 1983, the country was controlled by a military dictatorship, a period of United States-backed state terrorism referred to as the Guerra Sucia, or “Dirty War.” An estimated 10,000 to 30,000 people were “disappeared” by the government during this time—abducted and murdered for expressing views deemed too radical or too anti-government. That censorship extended to the arts; the government seized control of the media, attempting to blacklist or intimidate anyone making work they disagreed with.

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Fémina Share Argentinian Folk-Pop With the World

Femina

The Argentinan group Fémina—sisters Sofia “Toti” Trucco, Clara “Wen” Trucco, and childhood friend Clara “Clari” Miglioli—make music that’s both potent and affecting. The music consists of near-anthems in three-part harmonies that soar and shimmer as they slip in and out of hip-hop and lace around delicate electronic grooves. But the way they tell it, the origin of the group was surprisingly casual. All three members were raised in San Martín de los Andes, a small town in southern Argentina in the Patagonian region. Artistic expression was an active part of their lives—Toti is a dancer; Clari is an actress; Wen is an actress, painter, and illustrator—but it wasn’t until 2004, when Toti and Wen started composing rap lyrics based on Clari’s poetry—that they began working together as a group. The began teaching themselves to play their instruments, christening themselves Fémina, the Latin word for “woman.”

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Andean Producer Lagartijeando’s Musical Witchcraft

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Mati Zundel, the Andean electro-folk alchemist who records as Lagartijeando, speaks of music as witchcraft, and connecting with other life forms through the use of psychoactive plants. This might seem “delirious,” as he suggested during our Skype call, but the zest and fire in his voice brings a prickling of gooseflesh; to Zundel, this is all very real. As he goes on, it begins to sound like the charming producer/multi-instrumentalist has reached some point of self-actualization. He recalls his backpacking journeys, and stints spent integrating himself with indigenous tribes in South American villages, and times when he befriended trendy producers in megalopolises, experiences that allowed him to develop an encyclopedic knowledge of folkloric and modern music.

Zundel has just returned from a local event called Fiesta de la Guitarra, where regional music is celebrated: “There’s gauchos, payadas, chacareras, samba, chamamé, vidala, copla…I love to see this!” he enthuses. That festival takes place in his native Dolores—a tiny hinterland of 20,000 habitants that’s just a 125-mile drive away from Buenos Aires. This marks his fourth years back home after a three-year globetrotting venture, and he’s enjoying the bucolic lifestyle of being back home. Dolores is also where he recorded his latest effort, the jubilant and meditative El Gran Poder.

On the album, it’s clear that his intrepid journeys provided him with a wealth of musical knowledge. The record fuses blissful electronic ambience with nostalgic pan flutes (or siku) and jaunty charangos, most of which he arranged and performed himself. Zundel talked with us about the mysticism behind ícaros—sacred chants that are sung during indigenous, spiritual ceremonies: “If you listen to my music, there are elements that search and call for that, they ask for protection,” he offers.

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El Mató a un Policía Motorizado Brighten Argentinian Indie’s Corners

El Mató

“The popular imagination thinks that living off of your music, living off of your art, is some kind of big, eternal amusement park. But it’s not like that.”—Santiago Motorizado

Santiago Motorizado may be the hardest working man in Argentine indie rock. Arranging my interview with the frontman and bassist of the long-running cult favorite group El Mató a un Policía Motorizado (think Dinosaur Jr. showing you their sensitive side) was a formidable task. Between the band’s recording schedule and their preparations for a trip to the US and UK, our options were limited. We finally settled on meeting before his show at Pompeya Social Pub, in the Buenos Aires suburb of Castelar. Struggling to find a quiet corner inside the busy bar, we took to the street outside, my boyfriend awkwardly holding a tape recorder as we huddled on the chilly sidewalk to chat.

This isn’t to complain, rather to illustrate just how busy Motorizado is. El Mató is known for playing live shows constantly, and everywhere—for a city dweller like myself, Castelar (a subway, bus, and train ride away) might as well be Narnia. And they have a slew of big shows coming up: July 22 & 30 at Niceto Club, one of the most popular venues in the city, Sept. 24 at La Trastienda in Montevideo, Uruguay, and Festival BUE on Oct. 14, along with  Iggy Pop and The Libertines.  

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